So I just left off after I had woken from my sleeping bag slumber & got some coffee to prep myself for Van 1′s night runs!
& it wouldn’t be a 24-hour relay race without some reflective vests and headlamps, right?
Dave getting ready – our first night running ninja. If you couldn’t tell, it was super cold. Hence the full body wicking & beanie
As we waited for van 2′s last runner to come into the VTA (Sarah), we all tried to change into our running gear because we wouldn’t have too much time at each of the TAs. Being that it was super dark and we would be running on little side roads with very few light posts, we decided our van would hopscotch our runners for the majority of their legs. Hopscotching is when the van pulls up about 1/2-1 mile ahead of it’s runner, waits for it’s runner to pass, then drives another 1/2-1 mile ahead of it’s runner, repeat, repeat…you get the idea. With 4 out of 6 of our runners being girls, we knew that we would be following them closely, for safety’s sake.
Dave, me and some of Van 2 before Dave’s second leg.
When Sarah got to the VTA, we sent Dave off and chatted with Van 2 for a few minutes before we had to leave so that we could keep an eye on Dave. Luckily his leg was relatively short and he wasn’t too concerned with the dark so we only hopscotched him twice before heading to the transition area for Loretta to get ready.
Loretta was amazing – she ran the most gnarly hill I have ever seen and even passed a chick! She said it was better that it was pitch black because that way she didn’t have to see how much farther she had to go up this epic hill (btw – RTB actually referred to this hill as “epic”…if I had to run this leg, I’m sure my tumble down this hill would have been “epic”).
After Loretta kicked her epic hill’s butt, Mecca headed out on another 7-8 miler. We led her in the wrong direction when we passed a route marker but quickly turned her around. Sorry Mecca!!
After Mecca, BLC headed out on his second leg.
BLC had a longer leg with two pretty large hills but he did so well! He wore his KT Tape and Pro compression socks – & managed 5.66 miles with no shin pain! I’m telling you, if you suffer from shin splints, these products are totally worth the investment!
At about mile 4, BLC told us to head to the transition area to wait for him so I could get ready. I used the restroom, put on my night gear and jumped around in the hand off area because it was sooo cold! I was wearing my fleece lined running tights and my pink zip up running jacket along with ear warmers. I chatted with the volunteers while I waited for BLC to head up the hill. Finally, I saw BLC in the distance!
When BLC got to the hand off area, he had to transfer over a blinking light for the back of my vest, my knuckle lights and my head phones that he had been using (tucked into his beanie and not in his ears, of course!) so our transition was not super smooth. We did get it done relatively quick – & I headed off into the darkness for my second leg at around 12:10a.
My legs were tired but I knew this leg was soooo much shorter than my first leg and I was a little bit scared running in the pitch black. Adrenaline definitely took over.
The majority of my run had no shoulders to run in and very few cars on the road. Thank goodness for my knuckle lights! They were so much more helpful than the headlamp! I even turned off my knuckle lights at one point to see how I would have been able to see with just my headlamp & it just made me more thankful for the knuckle lights. Minus the few times I went to look at my Garmin & blinded myself with my knuckle lights, they were truly a life saver. (I just said knuckle lights way too many times)
While it was very dark during my run, I just tried to focus on not falling on my face and making sure I didn’t miss a route marker. That focus made the run going pretty fast and I was running into the TA to hand off to Megan a little before 1:00a. I handed her my blinky light and told her to take the knuckle lights – I wished her luck and ran over to the van so we could start hopscotching her.
I really wanted a picture of Megan running her night leg…but clearly the reflective gear would not allow for it. That’s her, I swear.
Megan was a bit scared (understandably so!) so we made sure to stay pretty close during her leg. At about a 1/2 mile till the VTA, we drove over to wait for her to come in with Van 2.
Loretta and I were really excited for Megan to get in so we could try to get some sleep!
Van 1 (minus Mecca who was sleeping in the van) after our night legs! Yay!
After we were all done with our night legs, all we wanted to do was find a place to sleep for a few hours. Unfortunately, the next VTA was about 45 minutes away…so we had to drive a little bit before we could just relax.
Also, we went to the wrong TA and encountered one other RTB van who was also lost & a group of people who were clearly drunk (it was 2a after all) dressed as a doctor & some sort of black swan. Never a dull moment, I tell ya!
After all the hoopla, we arrived at the VTA. Dave and Loretta said that they would go sleep in sleeping bags outside (saviors of life!) but because I gave my sleeping bag to Loretta, I had to sleep in the van with my towels as a blanket. While I woke up a few times really cold, Loretta and Dave actually froze. No lie. Their pillows and sleeping bags froze along with a piece of Loretta’s hair. I’ll take a cold van with towels as blankets any day.
I think we all slept for no more than 3 hours (& most of us did not sleep soundly) so when we woke up the first thing we thought was coffee and warmth. Luckily there was a Dunkin Donuts right around the corner. We went there to use their warm bathroom with lights (alternatively, we could have used the freezing cold portapotty in the corner of a parking lot with zero lights) and get some coffee and breakfast.
I got a pumpkin spice coffee with a bagel and cream cheese. I forced down the bagel because I knew I needed fuel for my run but I drank the coffee easily. Love me some DD!
After Dunkin Donuts, Van 1 headed back to the VTA to wait for Van 2…
& that’s where I will leave you for now